Oct 30, 2016
WWE's annual Hell In A Cell pay-per-view was tonight and featured three matches inside the structure. On paper, this seemed like overkill and it was in some cases. With that being said the show wasn't a complete dud and did showcase some great matches. For the sake of length, I'm going to hit the two more high-profile HIAC matches.
Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins was a pretty good match and arguably the best the two have had together in WWE. The finish was what it was. There had to be a play to extend this feud and keep Rollins from winning the championship as it's expected that Rollins will eventually enter a program with Triple H. Presumably, the Universal Championship will not be involved. The highlight of the match was a giant table bump that Owens took via a Rollins powerbomb. Eventually, Jericho got into the cage and helped Owens win. Good match and was what it needed to be.
Time for the biggest story of the night.
Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte for the Women's Championship was good, maybe even great. I'll get this out of the way quick: they should not have headlined the show. Now, before you call me a jerk, see it from this perspective. I absolutely believe that the women of WWE have the capability of main eventing a big show and they did a lot to prove that at Hell In A Cell. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer made a very solid point this week that I agree with. The point is that if the women are going to headline a pay-per-view, then use the weeks of build to that show to promote the fact that they are the main event. Make them the focal point from the beginning of the build. They didn't do that here, but luckily, the women are talented enough to get past that. So let's talk about the match.
The match opened with a quick attack by Charlotte before the bell even rang. Great idea to start as it extended the match preventing the two from spending way too much time in the cell. Sasha took a crazy table bump and was later put on a stretcher. Reminiscent of Mick Foley's career defining moment, Sasha rolled off the stretcher to meet Charlotte in the cell. They had an awesome match, even if some of their spots didn't go exactly as planned. Some of their table spots didn't exactly work, but for the two's first attempt at a gimmick match like this, they definitely succeeded considering the pressure of the evening. A great positive of this match is that though it was good, they left the door open for improvement. The women still have spots to burn in matches like this, so there is still a lot of ground to cover. The men have done some many crazy spots and taken so many different bumps that fans have come to expect that from every hardcore style match. The women just got their first run at it and it's still fresh. Basically, this means that every crazy bump or spot still means a lot more in a women's match. They still have the ability to do less and get a great reaction from the audience. The future of women's wrestling is bright as the competitors continue to make great strides with the division.
All in all, this was a decent show with some good matches. I could spend all day talking the woes of the Tag Team and Cruiserweight Divisions, but I'll save that for its own article. The shows have been thin since the brand split and Hell In A Cell was not an exception. Fortunately for the fans, tonight's highs were good enough to get this show a passing grade.
Oct 9, 2016
8-man Tag Match: VS. The Vaudevillains & The Ascension
Winners: American Alpha & the Hype Bros
Fun pre-show match. Good hot tag with everyone hitting a big move leading to Grand Amplitude for the pinfall victory.
WWE World Championship Match: AJ Styles (c) VS. Dean Ambrose VS. John Cena
Winner: AJ Styles
Cena and Ambrose both tapped Styles with simultaneous submissions, but the match continued due to there being no clear winner.
This match was excellent from start to finish. The three used the match type to its fullest, and at times was reminiscent of the infamous "Night The Line Was Crossed" in the early days of ECW. There are way too many triple threat matches in WWE. That being said, this one felt fresh and was put together with storytelling mastery. AJ dodges a bullet, grabs a chair, and does what he felt he had to do in the situation he was in. Cena and Ambrose both have arguments to continue chasing the title. If I have to nitpick, maybe an argument could be made that AJ tapped and therefore should've been removed from the match. But since it's a triple threat and there are no eliminations, I'm fine with the finishing sequences. Technically, neither Cena or Ambrose won, so an argument can be made that AJ didn't actually lose. The fact of the matter is, the match was so good that I'm willing to take the controversial finish for what it's worth. Great stuff from start to finish.
Nikki Bella VS. Carmella
Winner: Nikki Bella
Not a lot to say here. Carmella lacks experience and it shows. There was definitely effort from both women and the crowd wasn't completely dead for the match.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: Heath Slater & Rhyno (c) VS. The Usos
Winners: Heath Slater & Rhyno
Good match, but just slightly above what you'd see on an episode of SmackDown. Slater's comeback was solid, but in usual fashion, Rhyno was the deciding factor in the champions' victory.
Baron Corbin VS. Jack Swagger
Winner: Baron Corbin
Corbin wins after poking Swagger in the eye and hitting end of days. No heat in the match at all, but damn is Corbin's finisher sick as all hell.
Career vs. Title Match: The Miz (c) VS. Dolph Ziggler
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
This match was very, very good. By the end of this thing, the crowd was 100% behind Ziggler. The amount of emotion in this bout was at near peak levels. Ziggler wrestled like his life was on the line, because well, it was. Miz was also fantastic in this match, but Dolph did what he always proclaimed to do and that was steal the show. Can't say enough about how well this storyline worked. The payoff was definitely worth what was initially looked at as questionable booking. Great story, great match.
Alexa Bliss VS. Naomi
Bray Wyatt VS. Randy Orton
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Biggest story of this match was the finish. Luke Harper appeared and distracted Orton, allowing Wyatt to hit Sister Abigail for the win. Harper has been out with injury for the better part of a year and it's great to see him back. He's a great performer in the ring and as a character.